I left my customer’s office at 23.30 this evening. There was no one else there but me and a lovely cleaner.
It’s been a hectic few weeks and a couple of the projects I’m working on have all converged with a series of technical issues, predominantly external to my teams, but still causing headaches. I’ve just spent the last 5 hours sifting through logging and data: analysing patterns, then formatting it so the engineering teams working on the issues have the last 7 days of history in a tangible format.
I didn’t have to do that. I have very capable engineers who could also do that. However, faced with a situation in which I’m essentially powerless it felt good to take the chore of 5 hours of analysis and be useful, whilst also relieving the team of that burden so they can focus on things I can’t do. This gift of my time I believe is the most valuable thing I have.
According to the recruitmentbuzz’ website, the average UK worker spends 82,000 hours of their life working. If you then add that to that the fact that apparently we spend a third of our lives sleeping…we’re running out of time!! As I’ve got older, I’ve felt each year pass more and more quickly – my 82 year old neighbour tells me that for him, a year lasts only 6 months.
The song ‘Seasons of Love’ from the musical “Rent” asks ‘. How do you measure a year?’ Is it in minutes, in hours, or in laughter and tears? Personally, I haven’t really moved past the Gregorian calendar for basic time measuring…but I now at least try to choose more wisely with whom I spend my time and how I spend it. Giving up 5 hours of my time to support my team seems like a good use. Hanging out with someone who drains my energy, less so.
I am human however. A quick 5 minute email check can end up on YouTube with cute animal videos; I can happily spend a week re-reading all my favourite books and shutting out the world. I do believe it’s ok, and important, to have those moments doing nothing though. This is sometimes where my brain snaps into gear, synapses spark and creativity flows. But because we are supposed to be productive all the time, just doing nothing seems to be considered a waste of time. Interestingly enough my brain doesn’t fire when watching cute cat videos. It does when day dreaming and doing “nothing”.
In another excellent musical, ‘Hamilton’, Hamilton is asked ‘why do you write like you’re running out of time?’. I sometimes wish I had that sense of direction to make me driven in the way that Hamilton is portrayed, but in reality I’m still struggling to fit in everything I want to do, whilst being a good worker, wife, friend, family member. It seems there really isn’t enough time!!
So I shall keep trying to use my time wisely, and maybe one day I’ll figure out how I’m supposed to be doing with it all!! Right now, I think sleep will be the most productive thing I can do!